Legislative session policies sometimes predictable, sometimes not

Education issues have already bubbled up, with some calling for across-the-board teacher pay raises. One article I saw said teachers haven’t gotten raises in seven years, but that’s not true (unless someone isn’t following the law…and then we’ve got another problem). Mississippi law (§37-19-7) requires teaches to get a bump in pay every year, and you get more based on tenure and education level.

According to the Miss. Dept. of Education, the base salary for an entry-level teacher (that is, with a bachelor’s degree and no full-time teaching experience) is $30,900. Compare that amount to the average entry-level salary for all occupations in Mississippi – $17,730, according to the Miss. Dept. of Employment Security. In addition to base pay, public school teachers get state health insurance and a pretty sweet state retirement.

I’ve heard rumblings from others about pay raises for regular state employees coupled with refrains that “state employees haven’t gotten raises in five, six, seven years.” I guess these folks have turned a blind eye to the fact the Legislature and individual state agencies authorize pay raises for employees every single year. For example, about $12 million worth of pay raises were given this year, and nearly double that, or $23 million, were given last fiscal year.

(By the way: I am not against pay raises. I am simply for a full presentation of facts.)

Capitol Chronicles